South Korea, Malaysia confirm Kim Jong-nam’s killing

Seoul/Kuala Lumpur, Feb 16 (IANS) South Korea and Malaysia confirmed on Thursday that the North Korean citizen assassinated at a Malaysian airport was Kim Jong-un’s half-brother after a fingerprint test came positive, a media report said.

The Malaysian government, confirming the death of Kim Jong-nam, who was apparently assassinated on Monday, said that it will transport his body to the Communist country’s authorities, Efe news reported.

Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi said the incident would not affect bilateral ties, and dismissed as “speculation” the notion that the North Korean regime is behind the suspected killing.

Malaysian security forces have detained two women, one from Vietnam and the other from Indonesia, in connection with Kim Jong-nam’s killing.

Seoul — on the Malaysian government’s request on Tuesday — carried out a test to compare the fingerprints of the deceased man with those of Kim Jong-nam’s, South Korean officials said, Japanese channel NHK news reported Thursday.

After detecting similarities between the two impressions, Seoul opened its own investigation into the incident.

Malaysian authorities had till now only confirmed that a North Korean citizen, who was travelling through Kuala Lumpur International Airport with a passport under the name of Kim Chol, had died in the attack.

South Korea all this while has been claiming he was Kim Jong-un’s elder half-brother.

Jong-nam died Monday while being transferred to a hospital in Putrajaya after he was reportedly attacked by two women who sprayed a chemical on his face.

Since Wednesday, his body was at the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital, where forensic experts carried out an autopsy although the results were yet to be announced.

Kim Jong-nam had been considered best-placed to replace his father Kim Jong-il as the head of the North Korean regime until he fell out of favour with him at the turn of the century.

Since then he held no official position in the North Korean regime and lived mainly in Hong Kong, Macao and Beijing.

Born to dictator Kim Jong-il and his first mistress actress Song Hye-rim, Jong-nam had attracted attention in recent years with his criticism of the North Korean regime’s policies and its succession system through correspondence with a Japanese journalist and in statements to a Japanese television station.

The confirmation of his death comes on the same day when North Korea celebrates the 75th birth anniversary of Jong-nam’s father, the country’s late leader.